First.. the props:
> Josh thanks for introducing me to Stone Brewing... those were some fantastic brews and continue to be impressed by San Diegan beer.
> Josh / Kare_Raisu thanks for explaining Taco Shops to me (as oppossed to Taquerias).
KR & I tried to hit Cocina de Maria after Stone but it was closed... then we crossed the street to the place with that offers both Mexican & Italian dishes... had a very pleasant conversation with the hostess who is 2nd generation from Patzcuaro (her mother who cooks there? speaks Purepecha, I enjoyed discussing their regional specialties with the hostess)... unfortunately they were closed too! (And I thought L.A. had no night life! What are these Patzcuaro operating hours?)
That is how we ended up at El Portal... which was probably a good idea given my need to temper some of the buzz prior to my long haul to Ventura County. Oh yeah.,.. and this was my first Taco Shop experience (although KR qualified it as going beyond the typical Taco Shop scope).
I ordered the Fish Flautas (because I was curious), and Birria (thanks to the owner's daughters recommendation). I really liked the Flautas (wait I guess they are called Rolled Tacos in SD?).. and thought they were better than the Fish Tacos at Bety's... but maybe I was just more appreciative and less snobby after all the good beer.
Birria was fine... it was Michoacan style (they are from Cotija) rather than Jalisco and not my preferred style.
We had a great conversation with the proprietress... and we were able to cull the significant regional differences between the cooking of Cotija / Hot Lands Region and Patzcuaro / Purepecha Highlands.